Continuing Tales

One Day Like This

A Harry Potter Story
by Hannah_1888

Part 16 of 23

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Still Over two weeks had passed since Hermione had gone to Hogwarts to receive her certificate. And as far as that whole state of affairs was concerned, that was it—another two weeks of nothing. In all honesty, she had been busy during that time with preparing for starting at St. Mungo's, as well as spending time with her parents, but that did not mean that she hadn't spent some time thinking about the reluctant object of her affections. But the fact that the intervening time between leaving Hogwarts had elapsed so quickly gave her pause for concern.

It was a month later, and life, well, it had gone on—that was the reality of the situation. If there had ever been an opportunity for them, had it passed them both by? Very soon it would be another month, and then another, and surely she would come to think of him less. His features would become less pronounced in her mind, and the ache inside her would dull to fade away.

In the long run, it would, perhaps, be the easiest thing to let happen. Still, whenever Hermione considered it, a large part of her wanted to resist. She could not bring herself to let go just yet.

She had to see him, if only for one more time, and then she would know. She would know what she had to do.

And there was only one thing for it, short of barging into Hogwarts and demanding to see him. Hermione pulled a piece of parchment and quill towards her.

Where on earth should she start...?


It was only her second week at St. Mungo's. Her first had been spent completing the induction process. In the space of a few days, she had focused on learning about everything and anything, from her actual responsibilities and duties, to the mundane, such as health and safety, and the ins and outs of her contract. It all served to build up her anticipation to starting her job proper. She hadn't been able to wait to put on her robe and get down to some actual work. There was nothing more frustrating than having to sit about and watch everyone else get on.

This week, however, she could get stuck right in.

'Yaxley comes out of Azkaban today, Hermione.' Harry looked at her seriously while trying to flatten his hair.

Hermione looked up from her breakfast and smiled reassuringly. 'I've told you that it's fine. I know the Aurors will be monitoring him—his movements, magic, and so on. It's not as if I can walk about with one eye over my shoulder all the time. Besides, they wouldn't let him out if they thought he was a threat.'

Harry hummed in half-hearted agreement. 'Still, never hurts to be careful.'

She grinned. 'Constant vigilance, eh?'

'Yeah,' he laughed softly, 'constant vigilance.'

Ron entered the kitchen and headed straight for the rack of toast in the middle of the table.

'Morning,' said Hermione pointedly.

'Oh, hi,' said Ron around his toast.

'Have you moved in without telling us?' she queried with a quirk of her mouth.

Harry laughed. 'He seems to consume most of the food in this house, I know that much!'

Ron grinned sheepishly. 'Sorry. I just thought I'd see if you wanted me to escort you to work, Hermione—Yaxley is—'

'Stop right there!' Hermione interrupted. 'I do not need anyone to take me to work.' She got up and patted them each on the shoulder as she passed by. 'Though, I do appreciate your concern, of course.' She left the room to go and get ready for work, before they could continue to badger her. If Yaxley valued his liberty, he was unlikely to approach her once more.

An envelope caught her eye on her dressing table, and she picked it up. She still hadn't sent it. She put it in her bag each day, but never went to the Owl Office. She didn't know why she was being such a coward about it—it didn't contain anything earth-shattering. It was short, detailing a bit about her new job, and so on. It was the prospect that he might ignore it that forestalled her.

At least while she was uncertain of what he was thinking, she could continue to hope.

Hermione dropped the letter into her bag.

But... maybe today, she thought.


A couple of days later, Hermione weaved her way through the crowded Atrium, clutching a file of papers close to her chest. She stopped at large sign and glanced down the list. No, she didn't want Law Enforcement, or her old department of Magical Creatures; ah, Health was on the third floor. There had been some sort of clerical error when processing her contract, and unless she didn't want to get paid at the end of the month, she would have to go and see the people in Personnel.

Turning towards the nearest lift, she bumped rather forcefully into a wizard who had his nose buried in a sheaf of parchment. Her file was knocked from her hand, spilling some papers, and her bag tumbled to the floor. The wizard paid her no heed, however. Bastard, Hermione hissed to herself as he walked off.

Kneeling down, she swung her bag back over shoulder, and started collecting up the papers. A pair of black boots came into view and Hermione looked at them, freezing in surprise. A hand reached for her file, and she almost lost her balance when she saw the white cuff at the end of a black sleeve.

A black sleeve she'd quite possibly recognise anywhere.

'I don't recall you being this clumsy at Hogwarts.'

Her heart actually skipped a beat, and she snapped her head upwards to see Severus Snape calmly watching her. Of all the... Why wasn't he as surprised to see her as she was to see him? Curse his superior nonchalance!

'It's a talent I've only acquired recently,' she answered, a little tightly.

He offered her his hand to help her off the floor.

'Thanks,' she said quietly, quickly wondering, despite herself, how her hair looked. The feel of his hand unsettled her, and she made sure to appear fully composed as she let go of it.

A quick blush stained her cheeks as she looked at him, and a vision of the last time she'd seen him flashed through her mind. Suddenly, it felt as if it had only been yesterday, not several weeks ago.

'Um, what are you doing here?' she asked, for a lack of anything better to say.

'Could ask you the same thing...'

'Well, ah, I'm working, and before you say anything, yes, I do know this is the Ministry!'

Snape smirked appreciatively, while Hermione distracted herself by unnecessarily fiddling with her pile of papers. She felt a little uncomfortable—unsure of how she was supposed to act. She was finding it difficult to even look at him for any length of time.

'Are you here all day?' She hadn't failed to note that he hadn't revealed his purpose for being in the Ministry in the first place.

'Yes,' he replied, sounding faintly irritated by that fact.

'Right...' He was looking at her, but she could not determine what exactly he was thinking or feeling. Was he pleased to see her? But then, he was actually here, standing right in front of her—he could have chosen to ignore her (again). He could have simply pretended he hadn't noticed her, and she probably would have been none the wiser.

She'd been waiting for a moment like this—she'd be a fool not to try and make it count.

Hermione took a deep breath—this would be his, their, last chance; she would do no more. 'Could we, um, meet somewhere later on?' The crowd bustled on around them, but she noticed that since she was standing next to the infamous Severus Snape, she was getting a wide berth.

'Do you think that is wise?' he answered finally.

It wasn't an outright rebuff, at least. 'You wanted to be friends, well, that's what friends do.' She didn't know why he was bothering to think about it. After the stunt he'd pulled last time, there was no way she was letting him worm his way out of seeing her. She raised an eyebrow in challenge, wondering if he would dare to go back on his own words.

He appeared to consider her for a moment, and when he spoke there was an undercurrent of reluctance that Hermione resolved to ignore. 'There's a pub across the road—'

'The Red Dragon?'

'You know it?'

Hermione nodded enthusiastically. 'Their sandwiches are to die for.'

'Sandwiches,' he scoffed. 'It's their cask ale you should want to try.'

She wrinkled her nose and shook her head. 'No, I don't think so...'

He pulled a watch out of his pocket. 'I'll be there at five o'clock.' So saying, he nodded briefly before sweeping off across the Atrium. Hermione watched his progress until she couldn't see him any longer, and then headed into one of the lifts, shaking her head slightly in wonder.

Perhaps luck was beginning to fall on her side—finally!

As the day wore on, however, Hermione began to feel a bit irritable. She'd found it difficult to concentrate on the more important matters at hand, like actually brewing some potions without bringing down the whole lab! And when her mind did turn to the prospect that awaited her at five o'clock, her thoughts became progressively grim. Was she doing the right thing?

She thought back several times over their encounter in the Atrium. He hadn't needed much persuasion to meet her, but then, she had sort of fenced him in by taking the friendship line. What annoyed her most, however, was how he'd brusquely marched off after telling her he'd be in the pub at five o'clock—what if she couldn't make it for five? He'd just assumed it was convenient for her! Plus, she hated that he could just talk to her as if the last few weeks hadn't happened.

Cool, calm and collected; it was infuriating.

On the back of her bad mood, Hermione deliberately entered the pub a few minutes after Big Ben had chimed for the fifth time. She slowly glanced around the dim interior. If he wasn't there, by Merlin he could look out! Luckily for him, she spotted him at a table at the back. Consciously trying to loosen her grip on her earlier irritation, she crossed over to him.

'Hello,' she said, sliding into a seat. 'Is this for me?' She nodded towards the wine glass on the table.

He shook his head slowly. 'No, I'm waiting for someone else...'

'I'll just go then, shall I?' The corner of her lip twitched.


She smiled and sipped her wine, surreptitiously glancing at his attire. She assumed that the black overcoat he wore was his outer robe transfigured. He'd changed the collar of his shirt to something that would not, to the Muggles, make him look like a throwback to the Victorians.

'I'm sorry I was late,' said Hermione, rather unnecessarily; it had only been a few minutes after all.

He shrugged. 'You're here, now, aren't you?'

The flippancy in his tone frustrated her. 'I must say, I'm surprised to see that you are. You were not so eager last time.'

He didn't say anything, and Hermione wished she had just left it for the moment. For all that she'd told herself to forget her annoyance, and not to mention any of that business for the time being, she had within the first few minutes.

'I imagine you were very pleased with your mark,' he said eventually, giving her only a brief glance.

Hermione sighed internally. 'Yes, of course.' He was just going to ignore it, then. She should have expected nothing more.

He nodded and then occupied himself with his drink. She also took a rather generous gulp, thinking that at this rate she would finish the glass in record time.

'How have you been?'

'Fine,' he replied shortly. 'And you?'

'Fine,' Hermione repeated. Merlin, this was actually painful! She gave a small, rueful shake of her head. The silence that stretched between them was precariously close to becoming strained. She tried again. 'Are you doing anything nice on the weekend?' Immediately, she cringed inwardly. Doing anything nice on the weekend? What kind of opening gambit was that? She braced herself.

Snape's countenance seemed to automatically fill with impatience. 'What do you think?' he accused.

She shrugged defensively. 'Well, I don't know—why shouldn't you have any plans?'

'Doing what?'

'Perhaps, you're going somewhere—'

'Where?' He was frowning at her with annoyance.

'I don't know, do I? That's why I'm asking! Maybe, you're visiting somewhere, or indulging in a hobby, or something. I was only making conversation.' Merlin! He was in a right joyful mood! For the umpteenth time, Hermione wondered why on earth she was bothering with all of this. She was distracted from her indignation, however, when she heard him say her name for possibly only the second time ever, and suddenly, she remembered.

'I have spent the majority of my life cooped up in a castle in the middle of nowhere, Hermione, with rarely much time to myself—where on earth would I have to go?'

She'd obviously struck a chord; indeed, she was slightly taken aback by the bitterness evident in his tone. 'You have some time now—two months till school starts again, and there are no other claims upon your time anymore...'

He was staring into his glass. 'I suppose not.'

'Well,' said Hermione brightly, wanting to lift his mood. 'For once, your time is to do with what you please.'

'To do what, though?' he pressed.

Hermione paused to think of a response. How had they even got into this conversation? 'I don't know,' she admitted quietly. 'Anything... nothing; you could travel, or something.'

Was he feeling restless? Alarm bells began to ring in her head—encouraging him to go off travelling would not be conducive to achieving her overall aim!

He frowned contemplatively. 'It might interest you to know that I have never once been outside of this island of ours. Mind, I've not travelled within it much, either.'

She was surprised at him revealing something so personal. She did not know a great deal about his past. Had he never gone on holidays as a child? Hermione doubted he had had many of the experiences she'd had when she was young.

'I bet you have travelled,' he stated.

'Not very widely; I've been to Europe a few times, France and Spain mostly, but we holidayed a lot at home, too. My parents have a love-affair with the Westcountry.' She considered him for a moment. 'You know, you can do what you want now. Maybe it's time to try something new.'

Like me, she added silently.

He opened his mouth to speak, but appeared to hesitate. Then, he sighed. 'I have not the energy for all that... positive thinking crap, and I will hex you if you utter that damned cliché "a fresh start".'

'Charming! It's not crap, you know, and I'm not really suggesting anything as radical as positive thinking, anyway.'

'You don't think I'm capable of practicing optimism?' He affected a look of offence.

Hermione lifted her lips in amusement, and shook her head negatively.

He smirked. 'Fair enough.'

'What I'm saying is, it's time to just have some fun, maybe, to enjoy yourself.'

'Clearly, we know where you were when they were handing out the optimism—front of the bloody queue.'

Hermione frowned. 'I fail to see the difficulty—you aren't under any obligations anymore.'

He opened his mouth to retaliate, but suddenly shut it, shaking his head as if she wouldn't understand.

'What?' she urged, not wanting to be patronised.

'It's just, when you've lived the life I have...' He waved his hand dismissively. 'It's just self-pitying tosh.'

Hermione lowered her gaze, having some idea of what he was getting at.

He sighed heavily. 'I have had a trying day,' he said by way of apology. 'I'll be fine once I get to the bottom of this glass.'

'I'm not trying to trivialise anything, you know; I just think you can't live in the past—no one can.'

He said nothing for several moments. 'What do I do, then?'

'Only you can decide that.' Hermione smiled briefly at him. It was all down to him.

Whatever happened between them would be down to him, too. Watching him, she decided was unsure of what to make of his mood tonight. Could his discontent be a good sign—a sign that he was re-evaluating his life—that he would be willing to open himself to change? But that, of course, did not mean she would figure anywhere herself.

She shook herself mentally; all thoughts seemed to lead to that conclusion, lately.

'Another drink, then?'

'Why not?'

Hermione returned with the drinks, and they sat in quiet for a few moments, but this time the silence was not so cloying. 'It's nice to go out somewhere without having eyes turned upon you,' she observed, glancing around the pub. 'Can you imagine if this was the Leaky Cauldron?'

'Ashamed to be seen with me, are you?'

Hermione snapped her head towards him. 'I would suggest the other way around,' she fired back, perhaps a little too vehemently.

He looked briefly surprised, but then his mouth set into a grim line. 'I told you I wasn't ashamed,' he muttered impatiently.

She sighed. They'd been talking fine, but it would always come back to one thing. 'It's not the same, anymore.' This was the first time she'd really noticed it.

'Excuse me?'

'This.' She motioned her hand between the two of them. 'It's different; I sometimes wish we could rewind and go back to being at Hogwarts.' When things were simpler, and when there wasn't an overarching tension marking their interaction.

'And you wouldn't open your mouth a second time around?' Snape questioned, a tad snidely.

'Choosing not to say out loud what I felt would not change the fact that there was something to say in the first place. Neither would it change the way you felt. It just would have grown even more unbearable than this already is!'

He looked slightly taken aback by her candour, and with a frown, he twisted his glass around with his fingers. 'What would make it more bearable?' he asked, after a time.

Hermione glanced at him, a little surprised, and part of her regretted her choice of words, unwilling to consider that she might have offended him. 'It's... fine really—don't listen to me. I mean, it's... good to see you again, regardless of anything else.'

She smiled a small, sincere smile and took a sip of her wine. He nodded his head a fraction, and she took it to mean that he was pleased to see her too. It was something, at least.

'Slug sends his regards.'

Hermione suddenly choked on her wine and coughed violently for several moments. Wiping the moisture from her eyes, she glanced at him in disbelief. His hand was over his mouth and she knew he was trying not to laugh.

'Serious?' she asked, once her breathing was under control once more.

'Oh, yes; he always asks after you whenever I go in the Apothecary. I think you've really offended him by not going back there since.'

Hermione shivered, as she always did, at the thought of the old man.

'So I assured him that you wouldn't stay away forever...'

'Thanks!' She managed a small laugh nonetheless.

They continued to talk for some time more; he enquired as to how she was getting on in St. Mungo's, and Hermione related everything she had done so far. It was then that she realised she'd been longing to talk to him about it. It was refreshing to talk about her work with someone who was genuinely interested in what she was doing. She meant no disrespect to her friends, but talking about cauldrons or cutting techniques was hardly up there with their choice topics of conversation.

She knew that he was full of ideas and opinions, ones that often went against the grain, and often she wondered about the untapped potential he contained. Just considering what he'd achieved in terms of editing his sixth-year Potions textbook, Hermione felt he would be an asset to any research team. He knew so much, and yet he could be so secretive about the knowledge he held, and she liked that about him. There were times when he flaunted his cleverness, but she knew that was only to infuriate her, and she couldn't help but like that, too.

She was happy that she was here talking to him, even if wasn't quite like 'old times,' but she meant what she'd said earlier. She did wish they could be back at Hogwarts, because, deep down, she knew they could not carry on like this indefinitely—she could not carry on like this. It was a nice fantasy, but continuing to see him on a regular basis, as a friend, well, she'd never get over her feelings like that.

Hermione wished she could say that it was enough for her, but it wasn't, and it never would be while she had this wretched feeling of yearning inside her. She would be setting herself up for a major fall.

Did he feel it too? Or could he easily rise above it - settle for less - as he professed to be able to do?

She watched him as they prepared to leave; she stared rather vacantly as his hands travelled over the buttons of his coat and then to his sleeves where he tugged at the cuffs.

Was this the moment where she had to decide to give up—to admit defeat?

He turned to her. 'Ready?' he asked. From the way his expression seemed to drain, she knew that some of her emotions must be written all over her face.

She blinked and cleared her throat. 'Yes,' she replied, picking up her bag hurriedly.

Somewhat unsettled, she followed him out onto the street. What now?

'Well, I shall bid you good—'

'Severus,' Hermione interrupted briskly, 'what... what is going on here?'

'I'm sorry?'

'You know what I'm talking about—are we just going to ignore it? We can't...'

He stared at her openly.

'I can't forget about it,' she admitted, almost regretfully.

His eyes became suddenly downcast. 'I know...' he acknowledged, 'but... do we have to discuss it now? I have had a good time, this evening; let us not spoil it by going down that road—there is plenty of time for that, after all.'

So he had enjoyed himself, despite the awkward moments and uncomfortable topics of conversation? Hermione found herself somewhat humbled by that. 'I had a good time, too.' She smiled. 'And, yes, there will be time enough for all of that.'

Just as long as he did not put it off forever, and that he did intend on seeing her again, as his words implied. He said he didn't want to spoil things—did that mean things eventually would be spoiled? For better or for worse, though? It was probably best that they did delay that conversation, she decided, just in case nothing had changed for him.

'When can we...?'

'I will Owl you—you are living in Grimmauld Place, correct?'

Hermione nodded, and an irritable scowl formed on his face.

'What?' she asked with a weak laugh. 'You don't approve?'


'Well, it's good to know you'd rather see me out on the streets!'

He chuckled quietly, and a swell of happiness rose inside her, prompting Hermione to sincerely thank whoever that unsuspecting wizard was who'd unceremoniously shoved her into the path of Severus Snape.

Sometimes all it took was a nudge in the right direction—literally.


'You're home late—long day at work, or...?'

Hermione threw her bag down and collapsed into a chair with a sigh. 'No, just stopped off at the pub for a few drinks.'

'Ah, it's good to hear that you're getting on with the people there.' Harry smiled pleasantly at her.

Hermione wondered if she should tell them the reality of the situation. If anything did come of her feelings for Snape, it would probably be best to ease them in gently.

In a study of nonchalance, she picked her papers out of her bag, as if to read them, and said, 'Actually, I had a few drinks with Professor Snape.'

There was an elongated silence.

'Oh,' said Ginny eventually.

Ron, however, engendered no such diplomacy. 'How the hell did that happen?'

Hermione glanced at him blandly. 'I bumped into him at the Ministry, so we decided to meet and have a chat.'

Ron continued to look confused.

'Ron,' she began, 'I got to know Professor Snape quite well when I was his apprentice. It's not as if I'm going to ignore him now that I'm not.'

He laughed, looking at Harry and Ginny. 'She makes it sound like she was living with him, not learning Potions from him.'

Hermione allowed herself a small smile.

'How come it's Professor Snape now, then? He was Severus the other week, which is just weird.'

'Why on earth is it weird? In case you've forgotten, it's his name.' Irritation was beginning to rise at Ron's teasing.

'Really? I thought his name was Greasy—ouch!'

Harry had swiftly kicked Ron in the shin.

'Just be grateful Harry stopped you finishing that sentence, Ronald!'

Ron had the grace to look contrite. 'Sorry, it was only going to be a joke, for old times' sake, but then, you never did get onboard with that whole thing in the first place, did you?'

'No, I did not.'

Hermione wondered what their reactions would be like if they found out how she really felt about their former professor. She felt she could almost predict them. Ginny would probably be surprised, but supportive. Harry would probably be dumbstruck, though he might, in time, get used to the idea. If anyone was going to overreact, then it would be Ron. All she could hope for was to be proved otherwise. Their friendship was really back on track, and she'd hate for all that work to have to come undone.

Suddenly, she wished she had someone to talk to about what was going on—someone who she could go to for advice. She could not go to her mother—the reactions of her parents she could not predict. She was sure, though, that it would shock them. There was no one else to turn to. McGonagall had some idea of what was happening, but she had a feeling that if she spilled out all her woes to her, she might try to interfere.

Still, there was a small, flickering light on the horizon to draw inspiration from. After weeks of silence, Severus Snape was actually going to Owl her, and though it might have taken a while, it was still progress.

And progress she could definitely work with.

One Day Like This

A Harry Potter Story
by Hannah_1888

Part 16 of 23

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